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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — and where your skin is concerned, that may not necessarily be the best thing.
Cold weather and its accompanying low humidity dry out our skin, and it’s worth keeping that in mind as you put together your holiday shopping lists (hint: they’d make the perfect gifts for family and friends!)
When looking for the right skincare gift, it’s important to choose wisely. An oversaturated market makes it harder to determine which ones are best for the people on your list, especially when they’re different ages and skin types.
Don’t blindly pick something out and hope for the best. Don’t waste time skimming through countless “top 10” lists hoping you’ll find a skincare recommendation. Take it from an expert! We spoke with Dr. Vlada Doktor of The Dermatology Specialists to learn more about the best skincare products and services to consider as gifts during the upcoming holiday season. Here were her top suggestions:
Want to pamper someone on your gift list? Cosmetic treatments are the way to go. They afford the recipient the opportunity to experience something extraordinary, something far beyond the everyday skincare routine (in other words, something they probably wouldn’t treat themselves to otherwise).
Clear + Brilliant Laser: For people who aren’t very accustomed to cosmetic treatments, start with something that is minimally invasive, like the Clear + Brilliant Laser. This quick 20-minute procedure gently refreshes skin from the inside out leaving you looking, well, clear and brilliant! This is perfect for people in their 20s and 30s as it prevents signs and aging, but it’s also great for people in their 50s and beyond as it helps to restore their skin’s glow and luminosity.
At $500 per session, it’s more affordable than other lasers and is certainly worth the investment at least once a year. Dr. Vlada Doktor says, “Among the many cosmetic options, laser treatments will brighten your skin, improve texture and the appearance of pore size, while also resetting the skin. Clear + Brilliant Laser is an especially great laser resurfacing tool to target these three areas of concern.”
V-Beam Laser: We all love getting a little sun, but we may not all think about its negative effects on our skin. Did you know that UV exposure is to blame for 80 percent of your skin’s aging? That’s what makes sun damage the most common affliction to our skin. The V-Beam Laser targets irregular spots on our skin, like brown and red areas known as melanin and hemoglobin.
Aside from treating sun damage and conditions like rosacea, the V-Beam Laser also works on cherry angiomas, stretch marks, certain scars (like port wine stains), superficial bruises, and spider veins. These treatments can often make a difference in one sitting, but sometimes it takes a series of procedures for complete treatment. Pricing begins at $500.
Microneedling: Microneedling is another terrific non-invasive option to help patients achieve smoother, firmer, and more toned skin. It can treat minor scarring like acne wounds and other signs of aging by generating new collagen production during a process called “wound healing.”
The cost of the procedure is $500 per session and largely depends on the size of the areas being treated and whether or not you get it with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Fortunately, any skin type can tolerate both treatments and they’re great splurges that are both largely effective.
Skincare is for everyone, at any point in their lives. However, it can be hard to know what products to get for family and friends in different age brackets. After all, our skin requires different types of care at various stages of our lives. You wouldn’t want to get your teenager multiple anti-aging products that will dry out their sensitive skin, for example.
Here is a simple breakdown of products for each major age group:
Hello teen years, hello acne! Being a teenager is already hard enough, especially on top of dealing with issues like acne and oily skin. There are so many questions, like “How often should I wash my face?” and “What kind of products should I use?” For teens that are prone to acne, their skin typically responds best to comedolytic or exfoliating ingredients and products. Gentle, superficial chemical peels with glycolic acid help exfoliate the top layer of skin while salicylic acid targets the deeper buildup of follicles to clear pores.
Vitamin A is another great ingredient to introduce into a teenager’s skincare routine. The synthetic version of Vitamin A, Retinol, helps clear pores and eliminates excess buildup. Retinoids come in the form of prescriptions like tretinoin or over-the-counter products like Differin or La Roche Posay Effaclar. They’re helpful gifts for adolescents because they can start to incorporate them into more fully-rounded skincare routines as they mature.
There’s this myth that teenagers get the worst skin issues and they all go away as you hit adulthood. Wrong! Not only can adults get acne just as much as teens, they also meet new concerns, like fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol and other products with Vitamin A can help reduce the appearance of those wrinkles.
You can also consider anti-aging products as well. Hyaluronic acids and growth factors are some of the most popular ingredients in anti-aging products, which help stimulate collagen growth and cell turnover. These products will always be in-vogue gift! You can try out SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream or SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum. Both products moisturize and help protect the skin barrier from aging during the night.
Under eye circles are a major skincare concern for seniors. While people in their 20s and 30s can benefit from products that prevent dark circles and lines, dermatologists advise that seniors incorporate under eye creams to prevent deep set lines and discoloration as they mature.
Dr. Valda has some advice for products to get for seniors: “The best under-eye creams have anti-inflammatory properties while also moisturizing to stimulate new collagen formation. Some ingredients to look for in eye creams include hyaluronic acid, caffeine, niacinamide and green tea.”
Alastin, for example, is a restorative eye treatment that is one of the most highly reviewed creams by dermatologists. The formula is rich in peptides and promotes collagen, firming, and elastin which can help decrease the visibility of crow’s feet, minimize dark circles, and help reduce inflammation around the eye.
For those who want to pop into the drugstore for a more affordable product for their parents or spouse, Neutrogena Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream or Hydro Boost Eye Gel have similar ingredients that are effective on the skin surrounding the eyes.
You want to pamper the person on your shopping list, but this time of year also means that many of us are working with tighter budgets. Don’t break the bank! These procedures have a more reasonable price tag.
Chemical Peels: A chemical peel, which can cost as low as $150, is an effective option for patients who don’t have the ability to take time off work for recovery or pay a hefty price for laser treatments. The procedure works by applying chemicals like hyaluronic acid to the skin to exfoliate and help peel away dead cells from the skin. A mild chemical peel exfoliates the dermis while a deep peel penetrates the epidermis for smoother skin. While frequent chemical peels (between 4 to 6 sessions, every 2 weeks) can produce similar results to resurfacing lasers, chemical peels require hardly any downtime for a similar price tag.
3-in-1 Products: You know a product is good if a dermatologist prefers it as part of their everyday skincare routine. Dr. Vlada Doktor says that for a professional who is constantly on-the-go, a 3-in-1 product like a moisturizer that contains sunblock and antioxidants makes her morning routines much simpler. They have all the essentials you need to moisturize, protect, and maintain a healthy skin barrier — and they’re easy to use!
Using fewer products on the skin decreases the chances of excess buildup and irritation throughout the day. 3-in-1 products are the most practical gift, but they are also the most useful. Plus, they are easy to find in your local drugstore and come with an affordable price tag. Dr. Doktor suggests either the Anthelios 50 AOX Daily Antioxidant Face Serum SPF 50 by La Roche-Posay ($42) or Multi-Protection Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 by Revision Skincare ($67).
If you aren’t working with a limited budget and have some extra wiggle room for gifts, consider these skincare products/services for your family and friends because they’re worth every penny.
Antioxidants: Among some of the most effective and powerful skincare products on the market, a few popular options come highly-recommended. Products with antioxidants, such as Vitamin C or ascorbic acid, neutralize free radicals and help prevent inflammation, minimizing the effects of sun damage.
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum ($166) or Revision C+ Correcting Serum ($160) are two recommended products from dermatologists like Dr. Vlada Doktor. Both offer the highest concentration of pure Vitamin C that remain active once applied on the skin. They are a must-have in any skin care regimen, as they function to reverse damage caused by UVA/UVB rays in the DNA of our cells, which in turn slows down the aging process of the skin and, of course, helps to prevent DNA mutations that cause skin cancer.
Ultherapy: Ultherapy is the non-invasive version of a facelift (you’re welcome!). Skip the surgery and opt for this procedure, which stimulates collagen deep in your skin. It can be used to lift the skin on the neck, chin, and brow. This process begins to regenerate cells, producing long-term tightening and lifting of the overlying tissues.
The best results occur after repeated treatments, but each procedure only takes around 30 minutes from start to finish. Ultherapy gives a more natural-looking appearance because it is literally natural. Pricing for Ultherapy usually runs between $1,500 and $3,000.
Dr. Vlada Doktor is a board-certified dermatologist at The Dermatology Specialists. She earned her medical degree at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York and completed her dermatology residency at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital. She is a member of American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Osteopathic Dermatology, and Women’s Dermatologic Society.